This week, the crow seriously considered if any skills acquired in the course of writing for CHS are transferrable to other parts of life.
I’ve heard from some women that gaming can be kind of a “boy’s club.” Have you ever encountered that?
In our store, we don’t have a lot of that. Here on Capitol Hill, we have a really large variety of gamers. It’s very inclusive. We have groups for queer and lady gamers. But I managed a game store in Bremerton for a few years, and there were a lot of “neck beards.”
That’s what we call the kind of nerds who live in their mom’s basement and are a bit anti-social and who, nine times out of ten, are huge misogynistic jerks. Sometimes I would answer the phone at the store, and a guy would say, “Can I talk to someone who works there?” or “Can I talk to someone who knows what I’m talking about?” before I even said anything else. But I’ve never had that happen at the store on Capitol Hill.
If you had to give advice to a girl or young woman who was interested in gaming, what would you tell her?
If she’s local, I’d say to come to one of our lady gaming nights. We also have queer and alternative gaming nights, which are open to all sorts of people. Since I started taking over the War Machine scene on Capitol Hill, there’s been a big increase in lady gamers. Sometimes just knowing that other women are involved in a game makes women and girls feel more comfortable about participating.
Do you have any favorite games?
War Machine. It’s a miniature war game based out of Bellevue, Washington. It has a really Steampunk aesthetic, and it’s a lot of fun to play.
How would you explain War Machine to someone who had never played it?
You have your little painted army men, and they have their little painted army men, and you try to kill each other’s leader. Like chess, with a three-dimensional playing field.
Do you feel like any of the skills you’ve developed from gaming are transferrable to other parts of your life? For instance, have you ever had a long, strategic battle with your landlord?
Whenever you have groups of people who are really passionate about anything, there will occasionally be drama that carries over outside of the game. But fortunately, it doesn’t happen too often.
When you’re not gaming, what do you like to get up to?
I study Chinese tea culture and tea theory. I enjoy the art of making Chinese teas.
Do you live in the neighborhood?
I just moved here, about three blocks away.
Other than Gamma Ray and Ray Gun Lounge, do you have any favorite local spots?
Remedy Tea, up on 15th. And Annapurna, the Indian-Nepalese place on Broadway. I used to live in Bremerton, and there were days when I would wake up and be like, “I really want Anapurna!” and I would take a ferry over just to go there.
Wow—it’s ferry-worthy! That is a very strong endorsement.
And Skillet—they have the best grilled cheese I’ve ever had in my entire life.
Now you’re making me hungry…Did you make any New Year’s resolutions this year?
To paint more of my models. I play with a lot of models that are unpainted at the moment.
You don’t want your soldiers to be naked. That’s just obscene!
Yeah. And I also to find a good comic book store in the area and start up a subscription…
Maybe CHS readers will have some comic store suggestions?
That would be great.
How did you get involved in this group?
I moved to Seattle about six or seven months ago. Back home, I played a lot of Magic: The Gathering. Gaming is a good way to meet people.
Where did you move here from?
You can always tell the folks from Minnesota—they’re the ones wearing light windbreakers and/or shorts outside on days like this, when the rest of us are freezing our asses off.
Yeah, people here think this is really cold, but I can assure you—it’s not that cold compared to Minnesota winters.
What brought you to Seattle?
School. My girlfriend is going to law school, and I’m pursuing my B.A.
What are you studying?
Biology and Philosophy.
Philosophy—to have something practical to fall back on, I guess?
What do you want to do after school?
I’m planning on applying to med school, so hopefully that’ll work out.
When you first moved here, was there any one thing about Seattle that struck you as a very different from where you lived in Minnesota?
Everything’s open later in Seattle, and you can get alcohol just about anywhere here, apparently.
You know, this time last year, that wasn’t the case.
Yeah, I guess we got here just after the law passed. I walked into a grocery store and there was wine and every kind of alcohol, and I thought, “You can’t just do that!”
Do you live on the Hill?
Yes, over on Howell.
Any favorite local hangouts?
Not so much. Between school and working—I work over at GameStop— it takes up about all of my time.
Are you a video game player as well?
Yes, I am. Less than I used to, but still…
How many hours do you think you spend gaming?
I don’t know, but it’s definitely gone down. I’d say…20 hours a week?
Dude! 20 hours a week! I have to ask—has it ever caused any problems between you and your girlfriend?
No, she’s actually very, very understanding.
Sounds like she’s a keeper.
Any other thoughts on life in Seattle and Capitol Hill?
Just that I enjoy it. People around here are really friendly.
I see a suitcase—are you going on a trip?
No, I’m homeless. Okay, not really. I live in the Universe. It’s a big place with lots and lots of room.
Are you a Seattle native?
No, I grew up in Illinois, born in Iowa, came out here in 1981.
What brought you out West?
I planned on working in the fishing boats in Alaska, but the Canadian bus drivers were on strike at the time, and you had to go through Canada to get there. So they gave me the closest ticket possible, which was Seattle.
I’ve never been to the Midwest. What’s it like?
It’s a depressing place. Very depressing.
More depressing than Seattle in winter?
Recently the weather’s been quite crisp and cold, but blue skies — you can’t complain about that.
If you had to describe your ideal place to live, what would it be like?
It would be wholly un-American. I’ve renounced my American citizenship.
Are you a citizen of another country?
I’m a citizen of the planet. If you have the right to withhold your consent to be governed, which everybody does, then they can’t take any steps against you if you renounce your citizenship.
What inspired this point of view?
My experience with America has been nothing but a nightmare. My constitutional rights as a child were violated by my parents, by the school system, by the State of Illinois, which put me in children’s homes where I was introduced to drugs and things of that nature. For most of my life, it’s been an onslaught, a barrage of misfortune.
That must’ve been very difficult.
It hasn’t been all bad. I’ve had a lot of time to think, which is a rare commodity in the United States. Everyone here is so busy getting a career, or going to school, or whatever. You don’t have time to sit down and think about what you’re being told, what you’re experiencing, what’s going on around you…
How do you think people could learn to think more effectively?
Pick up a book on logic. The brain works in accordance with certain laws and principles. With the right reasoning and mathematics, you can see that a small percentage controls and dictates everything else. Everyone shakes their heads and agrees, but nobody does anything about it.
If you could change one thing about the country—just one—what would it be?
I would change the nature of the economic system in the United States. Make it more Socialist than Capitalist.
Is there anything you would change about Capitol Hill?
I think I would bring back more of a sense of community, which was lost with the gentrification of the Hill.
More CHS Crow:
- Audrei, Tim & Jennifer — ‘I create things, I sew, I make corsets…’
- Stephen, Karyn & Whitey — ‘Yes, and I’m an herbalist’
- Alvina, Korte & Patrice — ‘Sometimes people want a change’
Marguerite Kennedy is a freelance writer, semi-professional thumb wrestler, and recovering New Yorker who currently resides on Capitol Hill. She blogs at www.marguerite-aville.com, and does that other thing @tweetmarguerite.